Young Shin Se-kyung is an old pro : Former child actor was ready for everything on set of her latest drama

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Young Shin Se-kyung is an old pro : Former child actor was ready for everything on set of her latest drama


Shin Se-kyung, 28, feels good about her latest work, “The Bride of Habaek,” despite the program’s low ratings. “I think what’s more important [as an actor] is how well you portray your characters,” said Shin. [ILGAN SPORTS]

Cable channel tvN’s “The Bride of Habaek” is a romantic comedy drama that tells the story of a relationship between Habaek, the mythical water god from ancient Korea, and his bride-to-be So-ah, and is based on a popular sunjung [romance] comic by Yoon Mi-kyung of the same title. The television spin-off started on July 3 and aired its last episode on Aug. 22.

When the star-studded cast of Nam Joo-hyuk as Habaek and Shin Se-kyung as So-ah, along with other celebrities such as Krystal from girl group f(x), and big name actors like Lee Kyung-young and Yang Dong-geun, was first revealed to the public, it brought about mixed reactions from the fans of the original comic book. While fans were eager to see the stars in action, those who read the books were worried that the story wasn’t fit to be acted out by real people, since it was a mythical fantasy story of gods.

Since Habaek is a water god, people in ancient Korea were scared of water-based natural disasters such as droughts and storms, and are said to have sacrificed young women as brides to the god to appease him; the original story revolves around Habaek and So-ah, a human sacrifice. The latest remake of the myth, however, is set in modern Seoul, in which So-ah is not a human sacrifice, but rather a very realistic psychiatrist who didn’t believe in fantasies. As a consequence, fans of the original were disappointed at the huge disparity between their expectations and the outcome and it showed in the ratings.

Despite the poor performance of the drama, 28-year-old Shin feels good about her latest work. “It’s our job to persuade viewers,” said Shin. “And I think, in retrospect, that they were persuaded a little.” The Ilgan Sports, an affiliate of the Korea JoongAng Daily, sat down with Shin to talk about how she felt after the drama. The following are edited excerpts from the interview.

Q. What was it like playing the role of So-ah?

So-ah has an edgy side to her. The drama’s genre is fantasy, but the way the characters were falling madly in love was quite realistic. So I guess I didn’t have trouble in portraying her feelings. I came to understand So-ah’s emotions bit by bit, and I started from there.


“The Bride of Habaek” was criticized by fans of the comic it was based on for having strayed too much from the comic, and for its poor quality of computer graphics. [SCREEN CAPTURE]

Were you comfortable with the character?

Yes, mostly because the narrative of “The Bride of Habaek” is so full, without any gaps in between. In the past, I had difficulty with having to fill up the emotional gaps of the characters, but in “The Bride of Habaek,” there weren’t many scenes where I felt awkward because I had studied the story long before filming began. I think I may have looked even more comfortable because everyone on set gave me their full support.

It’s been 20 years since you made your debut as a nine-year-old. How did it feel acting with those with less experience?

On this set, I actually felt that I had aged. When I became 26, I suddenly had all these people younger than me, not just the actors but also the staff. I was used to being the youngest one, and it felt kind of awkward to be addressed as someone older (laughs).

Your co-star Nam Joo-hyuk was criticized for his awkward acting. What do you think about those remarks?

He studied the lines very closely before we began filming. I got used to the mythical world quickly, and I felt nothing awkward with him. Nam Joo-hyuk was just Habaek.

He’s a very diligent person. There are times when an actor has to think creatively on his feet. And in those moments, I felt that he wasn’t a boring person. Sometimes he would bring out things in ways I had never thought about before.

Even when he wasn’t on scene, he stuck by me and did his best. He even cried in one of my crying scenes. I had never met an actor who cried with me every single time in my emotional scenes. It made me think, “have I ever been 200 percent involved in other people’s work?”

The program didn’t perform as well as expected. How do you feel?

I tend not to think about the viewer ratings. Because they don’t turn out the way you want them to. The numbers tell you how much the work has been loved on the outside, but I think what’s more important [as an actor] is how well you portray your characters.

Having debuted as a child actor, have you had any troubles?

Yes, and those troubles changed with time. Fortunately, I was able to enjoy my life as an ordinary student when I was younger just like other people, while also living the life of an actor. Thinking back, I’m most grateful for those days because they were the happiest.

As you head into your thirties, do you have any expectations or worries?

I look forward to my thirties. Because I’ve been working from such a young age, I’m looking forward to becoming the older one in the industry.

I don’t have anything in particular that I want to accomplish, but rather, I think I could call it a success if I just age without hurting anyone around me. It’s not like you can get all the things you want, anyway. I have so many good people around me. They affect me so much. And I’m always trying to be a good person to someone else.


신세경 ”시청률보다 중요한 건 캐릭터 소화 능력”

배우 신세경은 단단했다. 최근 종영한 tvN '하백의 신부'에서 극현실주의자 여의사 소아 역을 맡았다. 기대작으로 꼽혔지만 원작과 다른 괴리감으로 시청자들의 외면을 받았다. 그 결과 평균 시청률 3%대에 그쳤다. 좋지 못한 성적으로 종영했지만 신세경은 연연하지 않았다.

- 하백의 신부에서 감정 스펙트럼이 넓었다. 어떤 점에 초점을 맞추고 연기했나.

"소아는 까칠한 면이 있다. 장르가 판타지이지만 쫓기듯 사랑하는 게 현실과 닮았다. 그래서 감정선을 이어 가는 데 무리가 없었다. 차근차근 소아를 이해하면서 감정선을 이끌며 연기했다."

- 원작이 웹툰이다. 원작을 의식하진 않았나.

"원작에 대한 스트레스는 없었다. 드라마가 웹툰의 스핀오프라고 해서 웹툰을 들춰 보기만 했다. 시청자를 설득하는 것도 우리의 몫이다. 종영 이후 뒤돌아보니 조금은 설득된 것 같다."

- 연기가 편안해진 느낌이다.

"가장 큰 이유는 '하백의 신부'엔 서사의 빈틈이 없이 빼곡했다. 감정의 빈틈이 생길 때 어떻게 연기해야 할지 몰랐던 적이 많다. '하백의 신부'는 사전에 고민을 많이하고 촬영해서 엉거주춤하는 모습이 별로 없었다. 감독님이나 제작진, 상대 배우 등 모두의 도움이 있었기 때문에 편안하게 보이지 않았나 생각한다."

- 어느덧 선배가 됐다. '하백의 신부' 출연진은 연기 경력이 많지 않았다.

"그동안 선배님들과 작업했는데, 촬영하면서 새삼 나이 먹은 걸 실감했다. 스물여섯 살이 되니까 배우뿐 아니라 스태프들도 동생이 많더라. 항상 막내라고 생각하다가 훅 위로 올라와서 이상했다.(웃음)"

- 남주혁에게 연기 논란이 붙었다.

"촬영 전에 리딩을 많이 했다. 일찌감치 신들의 세계관에 이미 적응한 상태라 어색한 점을 느끼지 못했다. 말투도 전혀 이상하지 않았다. 그냥 남주혁은 '하백'이었다."

- 하백 아닌 배우 남주혁은 어떤가.

"굉장히 성실하다. 간혹 배우가 가진 창의력을 발휘해야 하는 순간이 있다. 그때마다 고리타분하지 않다는 느낌이 들었다. 생각하지 못했던 점을 꼽아 내더라. 또 배우가 연기하면서 리액션이 중요하다. 대부분 촬영도 따로따로 찍는 편이다. 자신이 나오지 않는 신에도 옆에 있으면서 최선을 다해 감정 연기를 펼쳐 줬다. 내 감정신에도 같이 울어 줬다. 모든 상황마다 같이 울어 주는 배우는 처음이었다. '상대 배우 얼굴을 찍을 때 200% 힘을 써서 같이 울어 줬던 적이 있었나' 생각하며 반성했다."

- 현장 분위기와 달리 시청률은 좋지 못했다.

"시청률은 딱히 기대하지도 걱정하지도 않는 편이다. 내 뜻대로 되지 않기 때문이다. 대외적으로 얼마나 사랑받는지 객관적인 수치라서 중요하긴 하지만, 캐릭터를 어떻게 만드느냐가 더 중요하다."

- 신세경에게는 약간 어두운 이미지가 있다. 밝은 걸 했을 때 오히려 성적이 안 좋은 느낌이다.

"작품과 캐릭터를 만날 때 어두운지 밝은지 생각해 본 적이 없다. 모든 사람이 매사에 밝진 않다. 작품을 통해 밝고 어둡고 까칠하고 여린 부분을 드러낼 수 있고 표현할 수 있어서 좋다."

- 아역 출신이다. 성장통을 겪진 않았나.

"때마다 가지고 있던 힘듦이 달랐다. 다행히 배우 생활을 하면서 남들과 다를 바 없이 학창 시절을 즐겁게 보냈다. 지금 생각해 보면 그 시간이 가장 행복하고 감사하다. 모든 감수성과 감정의 밑거름이다. 그곳에 뿌리가 있다고 생각한다."

- 이제 30대를 향해 간다.

"설렌다. 30대가 무섭지 않다. 어릴 때부터 일을 해서 그런지 나이를 먹거나 현장에서 언니가 되는 일들이 설렌다."

- 30대 전에 배우로서 이루고 싶은 게 있다면.

"딱히 뭔가 이루고 싶다는 것보다 곁에 있는 사람들에게 상처 안 주면서 지금처럼 한 살 한 살 먹으면 성공인 것 같다. 욕심부린다고 뜻대로 되는 것도 아니지 않나. 주변에 좋은 사람들이 많다. 주변 사람들에게 영향을 많이 받는 편이다. 주변에 좋은 사람이 많아서 좋은 사람이 되려고 노력한다."

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